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Parents At Bronx School Outraged Over Lack Of Communication About Suspected MRSA

Doctor Ruled Out The Staph Infection Thursday Afternoon
Generic Hospital Bed File Photo (credit: CBS 2)

Generic Hospital Bed File Photo (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Parents are outraged after education officials failed to inform the public about a suspected case of a deadly staph infection at a Bronx school, according to a published report.

Officials were concerned that the bacterial infection Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, better known as MRSA, turned up at the Lewis and Clark Special Education School on Tratman Avenue on Tuesday. By Thursday evening, a doctor ruled out that there was a MRSA case at the school, the city’s Department of Education.

But while the uncertain lingered, parents grew angry when they learned about the lack of communication from school officials.

A Department of Education spokesperson said MRSA cases are common and parents don’t have to be notified if it’s only an isolated incident.

Feinberg said she could not disclose any details about the person who was suspected to have been infected.

Diane Nunez told CBS 2’s Tamara Leitner that she kept her 9-year-old son, Justin Conoly, and his sister home from school Thursday after learning about the suspected case of MRSA at the school.  Most students, however, still showed up at Lewis and Clark on Thursday.

“I’m angry at the Board of Education because when it comes to kids, this is a health issue,” Nunez said. “It’s important you don’t play with their health.”

Geraldine Sepulveda and her 3-year-old daughter live less than a block from the Westchester Square school.

“That’s their responsibility to tell us,” Sepulveda said.

School officials finally sent a letter Thursday notifying parents of the possible MRSA case:

Dear Parents,

I wanted to reach out to you to let you know that there may be a case of drug-resistant Staph infection (MRSA) at our school.  The Health Department shared with us that Staph infections (including the drug-resistant MRSA) do not generally spread through a shared environment such as a classroom.  Because of no immediate risk, it is not recommended that students be kept at home from school. 

Here are some good general health practices to share with your children to prevent the spread of infections:

1. Keep hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

2. Avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors.

3. Keep cuts and scrapes clean and, during school activities, covered with a bandage.

4. Consult your doctor if you’re concerned about a skin infection that isn’t getting better.

If you have questions, please contact your Parent Coordinator or 311.

Sincerely,

Principal

MRSA is a bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics and is spread through skin-to-skin contact. It can also contracted by touching infected objects or surfaces such as towels, razors, bedding or clothing, according to the NYC Health Department.

Symptoms of MRSA, include boils or a rash.

It can even be fatal if left untreated, according to the NYC Health Department.

“It certainly is concentrated in schools and anywhere people are interacting closely,” said Dr. Brendan Connell, an emergency room physician at St. Luke’s Hospital in Manhattan.

“It’s treatable, but should be treated sooner than later.”

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